Opel, Vauxhall, Holden & Buick Cascada Tuning

"Tuning the Cascada and best mods and performance parts."

The Cascada was sold under Opel, Vauxhall, Holden and Buick badges and used the 1.6 inline 4 turbocharged engine, Buick models only got the one engine, but in other regions we see a 1.4 turbo and diesel variant.

A Cascada has a wide appeal to many different types of drivers, and it's nice to see a car focussed on driver engagement, rather than just designed for practicality and comfort.

We look at Cascada tuning and report on the optimum modifications. Vauxhall Cascadas have been quite popular with car enthusiasts looking for more power so we'll look at what we feel are the best mods for this excellent car.

The Cascada is popular among our members for tuning projects but we strongly recommend that you sit down first and research Cascada tuning to avoid making the usual expensive errors we see.

Typically adding exhaust and induction kits, and losing power at the bottom end, or ruining the ride quality.

Tuning tips and articles

Cascada handling mods

Improving the handling should be your first priority in your Cascada tuning project. Drop the car by as much as 35mm and fit stiffer dampers, bigger drops will need other modifications in most instances.

Coilovers allow you to fine tune the ride height and in some cases damping characteristics of the suspension, and this allows you to set up your Cascada to suit your driving style and preferences.

 

Uprated Bushes

Enhancements to the bushings: Things you need to know

Bushes, which are rubber mounts that spin, allow the Cascada's suspension components to be connected and rotated around the car's chassis. The rubber ones will degrade with time.

New OEM rubber bushings may have a major impact on the performance of your vehicle.

Because polyurethane bushes are stiffer, the ride may be firmer, but the bushes will last longer and maintain the car's handling for longer.

They may also hasten the depreciation of other suspension components due to the increased vibration and play.

With a new set of poly bushes, the excessive play associated with rubber bushes may be eliminated.

Unlike current model cars, which often come with a complete set of suspension bushes, rare and older models may only have polyurethane main bushes available via aftermarket bushing kits

Custom bushes are often built to Cascada your requirements.

Many people believe that a 30mm lower Cascada from a franchised component shop would be ideal. However, this is not the case.

Vendors may claim that their Cascada suspension kits are compatible with any or all model year Cascadas.

The 'generic one set for all models' approach is obviously a flawed assumption when it comes to adequately supporting a diverse variety of cars. Engine weights and trim levels, and even alloy rims will affect the handling and require different suspension setups.

The rubber bushings on your Cascadas suspension mounts are probably shot, and just replacing these will greatly tighten up the handling. Poly bushes are a popular upgrade, but don't go with too firm a bushing or you'll have problems from vibrations.

Top end power should be your overall aim on the Cascada with a nice fat peak torque band.

Keep your car looking standard but remove the badges to make an awesome sleeper!

The best power gains come from larger engine sizes. The more you start with the bigger the return on investment so engine swaps are good value mods for small engined cars.

casacada-tuning

Cascada Engine tuning mods.

This list of the stages and mods that are usually performed by our members, decide how far you wish to go in your tuning project before you start.

Buick only got one engine - the 1.6 turbo other regions had a 1.4 and 2.0 diesel option.

  • 1.4 L B14NET (LUJ) turbo
  • 1.6 L A16XHT (LVP) turbo
  • 1.6 L A16SHT (LWC) turbo

Diesel:

  • 2.0 L B20DTH (LFS) turbo

1.4 Turbo VVT 1364 cc

  • (88kW 118hp @4200rpm 200 Nm 148 lbft @1850-4200rpm 2013–2019
  • (103kW 138hp @4900rpm 200 Nm 148 lbft @1850-4900rpm 2013–2019

1.6 Turbo SIDI 1598 cc

  • (125kW 168hp @6000rpm 260 Nm 192 lbft) (overboost 280 (207) @1650-4250rpm 2013–2019
    (147kW 197hp @5500rpm 280 Nm 207 lbft) (overboost 300 (221) @1650-3500rpm 2014–2019

Diesel engine

  • 2.0 CDTI 1956 cc
    (121kW 163hp @4000rpm 350 Nm 258 lbft @1750–2500rpm 2013–2019
  • 2.0 CDTI BiTurbo
    (143kW 192hp @4000rpm 400 Nm 295 lbft @1750–2500rpm 2014–2019

Getting the best mods for your planned usage of the car is essential. Stage 3 motorsport parts just don't work well on the road making the car difficult to drive.

Please watch our video which covers the 5 principles of tuning your Cascada. Be sure to subscribe and support our new channel.

Best mods for your Cascada

  1. Fast road Camshafts are generally the biggest mechanical mod upgrade, but they must be setup by someone who knows what they are doing and they are not always easy to source but you might find a local firm to regrind a stock camshaft.
  2. Tunes - Cascada remapping provides the most power in terms of cost, replacement ECUs, and inline Tuning boxes are all alternatives.
  3. Flowing and porting the engine head - for larger gains, you will get better flow and make a more efficient engine if you do this to support your other mods.
  4. Intake and Sports Exhausts - NB: on their own these mods will NOT ADD POWER in most cases, but they can help enhance power after other mods by removing the restriction.
  5. Upgrades to turbochargers and superchargers - A New Turbo is the most efficient approach to increase air supply, allowing you to burn more fuel and make more power. Although one of the most costly upgrades but provides the best gains.
  6. Cascada Suspension Upgrades - Replacing worn bushings and shocks greatly enhances your Cascada road holding and cornering. Coilovers and Bushings are the usual go to mods
  7. Brake Mods - Improve your Cascada's stopping power should be listed in your priority list.

Cascada Tuning Stages

Typical stage 1 mods often include:
Sports exhaust,Panel air filter,Alloy wheels,Lighter flywheel,Remap,Suspension upgrade (drop 30mm).

Typical stage 2 mods often include:
Fast road cam,Ported and polished head,Fuel injector & fuel pump upgrades,Power clutch,.

Typical stage 3 mods often include:
Competition cam,Sports gearbox,Adding or upgrading forced induction (turbo/supercharger),Engine balancing,Internal engine upgrades (pistons/head/valves).

Your aims when modding your car should be a nice flat torque curve. You want to avoid sending all the torque to the top end unless you are creating a competition car.

ECU mapping, remaps and tuning boxes

A remap on the 200hp turbo engine will usually gain around 10% or 20hp more power and torque will increase by around 60nm.

There are a few tuning boxes, piggy back devices and aftermarket ECU's around which are good options if remapping is not offered in your region, and many of these can be sent in the mail for you to apply yourself.

The whole point of this article is to give a little insight into the world of car tuning modifications and point you in the right direction, our forum is where you can ask for more detailed advice and tips on your project and all aspects of modding cars.

Bolt in parts

Cascada camshafts

One of the biggest mechanical modifications you can do on your NASP engine is to fit a fast road cam and although these can be hard to source it really is one of the few mods that will increase your Cascada's power output.

It is possible to get a custom regrind done on your existing camshaft if you can't source a performance cam in your area, but we would also strongly recommend a custom map be applied to fully take advantage of the cam profile.

Cams allow you to fine-tune and increase the intake and exhaust valve lift & durations and push up the power if done right.

We'd also caution you not to go with a competition cam as this upsets the engines idling and general town driving characteristics.When pushing up the power you will need to pay attention to the fuelling.

Cascada fuelling upgrades

To make more power you need to add fuel and air so tuning is all about increasing the supply of both.

A common oversight is the fuelling, with people focussing on air intakes and exhaust flow but without the extra fuel you will be hitting  a restriction and losing power.

Overspecify your injectors by around 20%, you need the overhead to cope with their deterioration with age and as the injector spray pattern becomes compromised, otherwise you'll run lean and end up with flat spots and other issues.

A fuel pressure regulator upgrade is a good options, and will give a more snappy throttle response, but this on it's own won't increase power as the injectors will only supply the rated amount of fuel.

More power needs more fuel. Using high octane petrol is another option if you find you are suffering from detonation or premature ignition on your Vauxhall project after fitting other modifications. To get sufficient fuel you may need to uprate the injectors on your engine. Uprate the fuel pump to cope with the extra fuel requirements of your tuned Cascadas uprated injectors.

Cascada Turbo Upgrades

The more air you can get into an engine, the more fuel it can burn and uprating the induction with a turbocharger upgrade makes significant power gains.

When the engine has a turbo already fitted modifications are simpler to install and most turbo charged engines will have more solid components so the options are to fit a larger turbo that matches your requirements for air.

We recommend you find these limitations and upgrade to better quality crank and pistons to survive the power. Stock turbos on the Cascada are only adequate so sourcing an hybrid can allow it to spool up faster and provide more boost over the rpm range.

Bigger turbos take more work as you often have to adapt the exhaust manifold and air/oil feeds to make it work, but this is where the big power gains come from.

NOTE Big capacity turbo chargers tend to suffer low end lag, and little turbo chargers spool up much more quickly but do not have the peak rpm engines power gains.

Thanks to new tech the market of turbos is always developing and we now see variable vane turbos, allowing the vane profile is altered according to speed to lower lag and increase top end torque.

Twin scroll turbos divert the exhaust flow into a couple of channels and direct these at differently profiled vanes in the turbocharger. They also improve the scavenging effect of the engine.

You'll commonly see there is a limit in the air flow sensor AFM/MAP on the Cascada when considerably more air is being sucked into the engine.

So if you start running lean or rich the air flow sensors are the first point to check.

Cascada Intake and Exhaust Tuning.

The next area for modification is the intake and exhaust. Contrary to popular belief there is generally very little power gain to be had by fitting an induction kit, they only become beneficial and are recommended after you increase the engines power to the point where the standard air intake box cannot cope!

Induction kits can work well on turbo engines and larger engines (if supplied with a suitable cold air feed or air box), generally though we'd just recommend for Cascada engines you should settle for a performance panel air filter preferably made from cotton.

Sports exhausts will certainly help air flow from the engine but do not go too large or you could very well end up with a reduced flow rate. So generally speaking, keep to 1.5 to 2.5 inches for best results.

Getting a professionally ported and polished head with larger valves can fully maximise your power gains. When you tune up your Cascada you will see that the standard clutch starts to fail so get an uprated clutch.

We've also seen some tuners toying with twincharged conversions and making some impressively high power figures but these are quite complex to setup and install.

Despite the large cost involved adding forced induction to a NASP engine will give large power gains. Turbos are usually harder to add than a supercharger. It is more challenging to map a turbo as the boost comes on exponentially with revs. It is easier to map a supercharger because the boost is proportional to engine speed on a linear curve. Adding forced induction will usually require a lower compression ratio or water injection.

Cascada Alloy wheel upgrades.

Alloy wheels will help the brake cooling and are generally lighter than steel ones. We should point out that although they can look cool on the Cascada big alloy wheels will actually decrease your performance. The larger you go the lower your acceleration will be - this to the change in your effective final drive ratio.

With this in mind aim to keep the overall rolling diameter of the wheel your OEM settings. In all cases we do not recommend going bigger than 17 inches, and we do get flack for saying this as people often prefer the look of the larger wheel.

The reality is that for the road, the ride quality and handling are hampered with large and heavy alloy wheels, they will get more kerb damage as a result and the cost of tires is much higher for large rim sizes.

If you would like to know more, or just get some friendly advice on Tuning your car please join us in our car forums where you can discuss Cascada options in more detail with our Cascada owners. It would also be worth reading our unbiased Vauxhall tuning articles to get a full grasp of the benefits and drawbacks of each modification.

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